Dr Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Trade and Investment, says the country exports about 117 non-oil products to 103 countries annually.
Aganga said this on Thursday in Abuja at the Ministerial briefing to mark this year’s democracy day and the first anniversary of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
He said that Nigeria had 5,300 products but exports only 117, adding that there was need for diversification.
``This means we have to diversify by moving to value added products, we have the market and raw materials.
``It is time to become an industrialised nation by focusing on the area where we have comparative and competitive advantage.’’
Aganga said that a new trade policy had been put in place by the administration, the first in the past 10 years, to boost Nigeria’s domestic, regional and international trade as well as facilitate the inflow of investments into the country.
He said the country had an advantage in Agriculture, which had necessitated the repositioning of the sector.
``Due to the revamping and strengthening of the Federal Produce Inspection Service (FPIS), a total of 265,588 metric tons of agricultural products were inspected.
``As a result of this, export volumes increased by 17.23 per cent and export values by 23. 9 per cent.’’
The minister said that Nigeria had attracted a lot of investments in spite of the security challenges it was presently facing as well as provided a haven for investors due to its large workforce and market in Africa.
Aganga, however, regretted that out of 84 million acres of arable land in Nigeria, only 40 per cent were being utilised.
He said he had visited over 12 countries to attract investments to Nigeria, adding that the visits had started yielding positive results.
To this end, he said, the ministry had established a trade and investment council with Australia.
According to him, efforts are being made toward establishing similar councils with other countries, including China, Qatar and Brazil.
Aganga said that an MoU had also been signed with an American firm to establish power plants that could produce 10,000 megawatts of electricity as well as assemble locomotives in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, said that Nigeria would surmount its present security challenges and move forward as the fastest growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa.
He congratulated journalists in the country on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day and appealed to them to ensure ``balance, probity and integrity’’ in their reportage.